The strength of podcast advertising comes from a uniquely loyal audience. 71% of listeners trust podcast ads more than other types of ad, according to Sounds Profitable.* To find success in the medium as an advertiser, you have to approach things from the listener’s perspective. Especially with programmatic advertising.  

Whether they’re fans of sports, comedy, or true crime, the podcast audience is drawn to engaging content and authentic storytelling. Without those two things, you risk interrupting the experience and earning yourself a few presses of the skip button. Host endorsements or host-read spots have the benefit of leaning on the charisma of a trusted personality to carry the listener through branded messaging. However, programmatic advertising is the best option for brands that want full control of their ad time, more efficient audience targeting, and the flexibility to optimize their budget on the fly. Sounds Profitable also found that 28% of podcast listeners are interested in pre-recorded ads with an additional 40% saying they don’t mind them and occasionally find them useful.*

Making the most out of your programmatic podcast placements is a balancing act between capturing the listener’s attention and educating them about your brand. Too much of one and you lose the chance to do the other. And you typically only have 60 seconds (or less) to achieve both. After forming a solid, data-backed media plan, focusing on creative can help breathe life into your campaign strategy. 

To make a meaningful connection with listeners, your spot should do much more than list off product features or repeat just how limited your limited-time offer is. From bold to heartfelt concepts, your creative approach helps shape how the audience thinks and feels about your brand. And most importantly, how they decide to engage
with it.

To make the most out of your programmatic podcast spots, here are five creative elements to consider:  

Set the tone

Having full control of your spot means the freedom to choose what mood you want it to embody. If the tone doesn’t match the content, it can feel forced or unnatural. Like a late-night infomercial. Keeping things conversational and upbeat is a good start, but adding more nuances can help build relatability. According to Cumulus Media, 74% of podcast listeners are interested in ads that are funny and 72% want to hear ads that are entertaining.** For example, adding humor to the frustrations of an everyday chore or evoking the well-earned indulgence of a weekend treat.

Build a setting

Working without a visual element doesn’t have to be a detriment to the creativity of your spot. In fact, it only takes subtle audio cues to let the listener’s imagination run wild. Think of the powerful effects ASMR can have. With minimal sound design, it can reduce stress and increase empathy. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a setting where someone would be using your product or service. Take an outdoor lifestyle brand for example. Is there a crunch of gravel beneath your feet or are there birds singing in the distance? Thinking about the big picture can help ground your spot in a specific time and place.

Lean into the genre 

Podcast listeners often have a select few genres they turn to again and again. By applying a few iconic genre elements into your spot, you can let the audience know that you have an understanding of things they like and that your brand can be a natural fit into their lifestyle. If you’re running on true crime shows, you can add suspense to build anticipation. Or if your target audience loves productivity or personal empowerment, share some little-known tips relevant to your brand. 

Find your voice 

One huge benefit to producing a spot for programmatic is being able to choose a voice that best represents your brand. Whether that’s gruff and dependable, sassy and animated, or anything in between. There’s a surprising amount of quality voice talent at many different price points. So even if an instantly recognizable celebrity voice isn’t in your budget, you can still find someone that carries the personality of your brand from the script to your audience. According to Audacy’s Sound Creative report, consistent use of sonic branding, like an audio logo or brand anthem, can also boost ad recall by 14% and perception of trustworthiness by 7%.***

Apply music and sound effects

Music and sound effects are powerful tools. In the right applications, they can help create emphasis or immersion. But overdone, they can easily steal the show and take attention away from your brand messaging. Think of how foley artists use subtle audio details to add realism to films, shows, and video games. Audacy has also found that incorporating music into an ad bumps purchase intent by 5% and recall by 4%.*** During production, a skilled audio specialist can choose just the right background music, add a pinch of sound effects, and tinker with different volume levels to make each part of a spot truly shine.

A Winning Combination

Combine the 5 creative elements above with an expert team of audio creatives, and you’ll find yourself immersed in audio experiences that don’t just tell a story, but produce results.

Check out some examples:

The audio experts at Ad Results Media can help you craft and execute an audio advertising campaign customized to your business goals. From media and creative strategy to production and measurement, we offer a comprehensive suite of audio services. So you have an experienced team of specialists behind your brand from start to finish. Get in touch with us to learn more and see what we can do for you. 


*Sounds Profitable, “After These Messages”, 2022

**Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Podcast Download Fall 2022, 2022

*** Audacy, Sound Creative, 2023